Where to sow seeds

Keen to sow some seeds, but not sure where to sow them – indoors, outdoors, or in a cold frame? Then read on.


Sowing indoors is essential for anything that needs warmth or needs to get off to an early start when it’s too cold to sow outside. All you need is a bright windowsill, ideally over a radiator so the seeds are kept at room temperature. If you really get hooked on early seed sowing, it’s handy to have a small heated propagator.

Outdoor sowing is ideal for plants that are best sown and grown in the same spot, or that will be transplanted later.

Between these two sowing options is a third – ‘cold but covered’. This includes cold frames, lean-tos, unheated conservatories and car ports with clear roofs. All these make good places to sow seeds that don’t need heat, but benefit from protection until the plants are big enough to put outside. The more control over your conditions you have, the more successful germination will be.

Seeds to sow indoors

House plants
Conservatory plants
Frost tender veg such as tomatoes
Hardy annuals and bedding plants
Half hardy annuals


Seeds to sow outdoors

Root vegetables
Hardy annuals
Rows of cut flowers
Brassicas for transplanting later
Wallflowers for transplanting later


Seeds to sow in a cold frame (or similar)

Early hardy vegetables
Hardy annuals
Sweet peas